tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN January 23, 2014 8:00am-10:01am EST
and it is good to see positive results from continued oversight. moving forward we have to continue this progress by conducting our oversight efforts in a sustained, dedicated and bipartisan manner. is not enough for us to convene hearings and hope for the best. we need to work cooperatively and diligently to find tangible solutions to minimize government waste and maximize efficiency. ..
by suggesting one. chairman carper, you're recognized. >> mr. chairman, to you, our friend, ranking member cummings, to our colleagues with whom dr. coburn and i have worked including the fellow from utah, most recently on really surplus property, access properties, wasted properties. i have a prepared statement i'm going to ask if we could be included in the record. >> without objection. both of your statements will be required -- we are not running a clock on you. this isn't the senate. bear that in mind. [laughter] >> i like to think, first of all thank you for this thing. thank you for giving us a chance to participate. last year when we were new in our positions as ranking member and chair of the homeland security government affairs committee we invited both you
and represented coming to come and bleed off are hearing on reform. i'm courage to report today i think dr. coburn and i have been working on bipartisan legislation. i think we are close to hammering out the final details. report on the bipartisan and i think what having some discussion already on the direction we're going to watch with more. part of what they are doing at the postal service is rightsizing enterprise, get a better result for the. we need to take that kind of lesson across the way in our government. i like to think there are three keys to deficit reduction. one of those is entitlement reform. the largest part of our spending is entitlement programs. they are important but before going to make progress on deficit reduction we can't ignore them. what i suggest is three things. i think dr. coburn -- i think
the president agrees with this. reform the programs that save money, so we say the programs for children and grandchildren, and we do so in way that does not savage poor people. second thing to do for deficit reduction i think we need some additional revenues. balanced budget for four years from 97-2000 spending as a percentage of gdp was about 20% for four years. we at four years of balanced budgets. i think we need tax reform. i serve on the finance committee. trying to do that working with dave camp, but we need tax reform that lowers corporate rates so we are competitive with the rest of the world but also generate some revenue. asserting we need to do is look at everything we do in government. ask this question, how to get a better result for the same amount of money. it's almost like a culture change. a culture of spendthrift to a
culture -- that's what dr. coburn and 90. also a lot of what you do. most of you know mo -- most of you know mike enzi. he has what he calls the 80/20 role. he worked with ted kennedy when his life. they got a lot done. i said how did you get so much done? peace and we agreed on 80% of the stuff. there's 20% we don't agree on. but we decided it was focus on the 80%, and the 20% we don't, we set that aside for another day. they made great progress as a team, democrat and republican. want to take a couple minutes and focus on the third of the
three pieces i talk about which is deficit reduction and that is how do we get a result in everything we do. representative comments mentioned in improper payments. dr. coburn and i've come back to the well again and again and again. we introduce new legislation today, not today but this year -- last year's we don't continue to waste money on benefits to people better day. a lot of common sense stuff. elijah is right. in fact when i was new in the senate george w. bush said we know are spending a lot of money to wasting a lot of money. let's do something about it. we pass legislation that said we want agencies to keep back payments? report that. that was 2002. 2010, dr. coburn and i with your help, support and we updated
that. we wanted to go out and try to recover money. we said we want managers of agencies to be evaluated on how well they'r their compliance wis law. as representative cummings said, improper payments have been dropping. we enhanced that the last year. we offered legislation in the senate which will enable us to waste less money in medicare and medicaid. people say we can't curb spending. we can. there's a lot of things we can do. it's been made part of the sgr. legislation which is coming out, come out of the finance committee. we hope it is something that you can embrace and house but it will enable us to save money in these programs, said the program and a savage for more people. the other thing giving out to
mention if i can is this. with hundreds of thousands of properties that the federal government owns. some of them are defense-related, many are not. some of the properties we own. a lot of them release. be waste huge amounts of money, billions every year. properties we don't all use or don't use it all. eating them, calling them, securing them and its a real ticket to try to figure out a deal with it. it involves all kinds of folks including homeless groups, including our communities across the country. we've got to deal with this. dr. coburn and i are committed in getting it done this year. we welcome the opportunity work with republicans and democrats on this committee. is just one of the areas where we can get a better result. i would just say again, about the 80/20 will, there's a lot to
it. let's focus on the 80% we can agree. we can't do it by ourselves obviously we can do it by yourself if we get married together, omb, gao, gives us that high risk list every two years, we can get a lot done. a lot of the stuff, the administration agrees with us. let's just do it. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. might remind us all to agree with us on friday instead of 60 delivery, too. we will get there. dr. coburn. >> thanks the opportunity to be here and i think every member of the committee that year. the problem isn't that congress doesn't get along your we have 680 billion-dollar deficit. we all agree to last year. my take is we get along too well. we have presidents that, go, and
congresses that come and go. but the wasteful spending continues. why is that? why does it happen? i mean, we force through a legislation to make the gao show was where duplication is. there's been one piece of legislation, out of congress in four years. it didn't even come out of congress. it came out of the house, that consolidated one of the things that gao said need to be consolidated. called the skills act. it's the only thing that's happened in four years. so the problem isn't that we don't know what the problem is. the problem is that we don't act on the problem. and it's hard, there's no question, you talk to the members of the labor and workforce committee, it's hard when they consolidated 36 programs in to six. it's not easy work. but that bill hadn't even been
taken up by the senate or the help committee in the senate. so the problem is us. sequestration and even force congress, sequestration didn't enforce congress to cut, eliminate or consolidate any other governments hundreds of duplicate of outdated or ineffective programs. not one. the problem is us. we are not acting on the information that we have. we agreed to undo modest, automatic spending reductions without eliminating a single unnecessary program. not one. we added $60 billion back in spending over the next two years but we didn't eliminate any of the waste. if you can't find waste in any part of the federal budget on whether it's health care programs, defense spending, which is rife with waste, or even the tax code, it's only one reason. you haven't looked. you have not looked.
government has grown so massive that there's only one department in the entire federal government that actually knows all of its programs. that's the department of education. they put out a list every year. they are the only one. there's been attempted try to force that through the senate. there's a bill in the house to try to make sure every department at least has a list of their programs. you haven't moved it. we haven't moved it. before you can fix anything you've got to know what is there. you have to look at it. we haven't looked. the pentagon can't pass a simple auditor or mandated to pass an audit the first time in 1984. we have a bill on in the pentagon, and after that has real teeth in it. the pentagon does reform. when they came through, they took the teeth out but with the audit in the we've been telling him to do an audit for 30 years. you think they're going to an audit without any teeth, without
any threat, but i think consequences of not doing it? and yet it was pulled out. so not going to do it until we get serious about doing it. if you think about, even in sequestration you don't have to agree with everything that i've listed in the waste book. i could've put 300 their and $60 billion worth of wasteful spending. but the one thing you can't disagree with is when we are borrowing $680 billion a year from our kids, our these things are listed in the waste book a party for the government of the united states? they are not. the reason they have been is because there's not good oversight by the committees of authority. that's why they happen. it's not meant to him there's. it's meant to say, what are we doing? why are we not looking? why are we not working to solve the problems? representative cummings you mentioned contract with the air force but in 2010, we notified
the air force that they should cancel that program. that's when they're only a couple hundred million dollars into it. consequence, what are the consequences of canceling the program? they pay a close-up the, but here's the consequences that didn't happen. whoever was managing the contract or let that contract in the first place didn't get fired, and the contractor wasn't sued by the federal government for nonperformance. so the same thing is going to continue to happen until we start demanding accountability. and that accountability has to start with us first. we can ask the air force to be accountable if we are not accountable. the waste details 100 projects, $30 billion. you can pick with it with a not it's accurate, whether or not it's right. so for 50% of it away. $18 million. the question is, is in a time
when we are borrowing from our future, should we be spending that money now? and i would contend that we shouldn't. it's happening because we're not doing our jobs. i'm talking collectively, the senate, the house, the committees. if you think about the gao reports that come out over the last three years, another one will come this march, what has happened based on information that they have given us? one bill out of the house, nothing out of the senate. the president, to his credit, has taken a lot of that and put in his budgets, saying these are right things to do, we should do it. we haven't acted on it, he hasn't acted on. he can't because we won't do it. i would close just by giving you just a little rundown of what's out there. most people don't realize.
we have 679 renewable energy programs from 23 different agencies costing $15 billion a year. can anybody logically explain why we would need 679 programs for renewable energy? nobody can. each one of those committee to 6-under 79 has an overhead. has a management team, has associated costs with it. at 253 different department of justice crime prevention programs. $4.5 billion. why do we have that many? why can't we consolidate those? finally, i'll in and i've got a list, i will list, i would be happy to supply to all of your -- summary of what gao has given us so far as to get programs. i met with congressman college before this, how do you do it? it is hard work.
you have to win over the hard of the committee chairman of jurisdiction. and say, won't you do oversight on this? won't you look at it? won't you try to consolidate? and if that doesn't work, what you have to do is embarrass the members of congress into doing their job. i'm embarrassed that we, as members of congress, have allowed this list with a multitude of programs that are on there, with the duplicity that's in it, that we haven't fixed it. we don't have an excuse. we are guilty. of not doing our jobs. the way to turn that around is to start doing it. and i understand this committee has jurisdiction to look at it, but you can't change it unless the committees of jurisdiction act. and so what we need to all be his ambassadors to the separate committees that they will, in fact, do the hard work, oversight, streamline,
eliminate, combine and consolidate so that, in fact, we can actually get some savings to spend on things that maybe much more important. and what i feel is we are not meeting the charge. we are not meeting our oath, because we failed to do the very, very hard work of having to committee hearings, pulling the people in and saying, what is the problem? how do we address the problem? most agencies, by the way, don't know there's a problem either because nobody in the agency knows all the programs. it starts with us, and my message would be is we need to redouble our efforts on both sides of the aisle, both sides of the capitol to say that we're going to be good stewards, and it's not that program ideas are bad, but when you have 679, there's nobod no way you can juy that to anybody. i would leave you with that, first thing you want to do is consolidate 679 renewable energy
programs into maybe two or three and get rid of the overhead. if you did that throughout the federal government on all these programs, we could actually get to the balanced budget without raising taxes, without making hard choices in things that really hurt people, and could actually do our jobs. thank you. and i'm happy to answer any questions you might have. >> thank you. if it's all right with the two senators, for a few minutes will go through an informal questions. i'm not going to yield five minutes back and forth. i know you don't have the time for it and i'm not going to recognize myself except to say that dr. coburn, your waist but will be inserted into a record today as essentially the collateral material for your opening statement. without objection. mr. jay this, i understand you a brief comment? >> i think the chairman. i think both the gentlemen here, both senators for the passion. knowing that there are people that truly care. i particularly wanted to
highlight my interaction with senator carper. we had a bill here in the house, h.r. 328, that last term we passed unanimously. passionately in this body, and out of the house to do with real properties and so forth. working together to get that done with senator carper, there's something like gao estimates nearly 78,000 properties that are either not utilize or underutilized. additionally, the gao estimates we spend about $1.5 billion for you to operate and maintain these properties, that we don't need. my state of utah, we have an operating budget of 12-$13 billion. everything we do the entire year, yet the federal government has 78,000 excess federal properties and spinning $1.5 billion. we have to solve the. that's the low-hanging fruit. it does have to happen in a bipartisan, i came away and i
just want to thank senator carper in particular for his working across the aisle and in a bicameral way and optimistic that we can help solve this. >> mr. chairman? just a brief comment. a real pleasure for us to work with you. first thing that tom coburn and i ever did together, when his new innocent, he was chairman of republicans -- what is now department of homeland security and governmental affairs. we went to chicago together and we visited an old postal stability -- facility. it is still empty. there are tens of thousands of buildings like that and we can do something about it that we're determined to get legislation through. it's out of our committee. determined to get the kind of legislation we co-authored to get done. i want to take a moment. it's in my prepared statement but you done great work on what we call the data act, try to focus on disclosure and data standards for some of the spending we do.
dr. coburn and i have worked to get that legislation -- mark warner has been the lead in the senate. my hope is we can get that -- that's one of the 80% of the things we agree on, and, frankly, so does the administration. >> thank you. and i will not go to the ranking member. >> just one quick question. you know, first of all, thank you both for your testimony. one of the things i've learned after being on the earth for 62 years is about a lot of times people don't do things because they can do everything that they want to do. so the end up doing nothing. maybe they don't have time, they find excuses or whatever. i guess where i'm going with this is what do you all see, you talk about low-hanging fruit, senator. i mean, what can we -- what can we reasonably do, and particularly and light of
senator coburn's comments, to get some things done? it may not be everything but at least get some things done so this time next or we will say, well, we were able to chip away at this. i mean, what -- >> it's not hard. it's not hard. you get rid of the $680 billion deficit $1 billion at a time. you got $5.6 billion being collected by the people who were on discipline for unemployment insurance. you got $100 million going in unemployment insurance to people have net incomes greater than $1 million a year. those are not hard things to do. i mean, if you're disabled, the very fact that you're disabled, you are not working. that's one of the requirements other than a short period of time that you might be in a trial period. so it doesn't make sense. you know, low-hanging fruit,
it's all over. but it requires work. it means where to move it through the process. but unless you start, at the billion dollars at a pop, or 100 million to get to a billion, you are never going to get there. and what's happened is nobody start. the whole reason i pass the legislation forcing the gao to outline all this duplication was i thought it would embarrass us into acting. boy, was i wrong. him and it hasn't embarrassed us at all because we have an active. we haven't done anything except what came out of the skills act. so you do it by a billion at a time. and once you start doing it what you find out is you know what can it really feels good to be an efficient steward of the taxpayers money. it doesn't have to be -- these are necessarily controversial issues. these don't have to be a
partisan issue. you really think that we would disagree in a limiting the 679 green programs? you know, we all agreed would want to green program but couldn't we do it with 10 or 15 instead of 679? those aren't controversial issues. the fact is nobody has the initiative to go and do it. we're not saying initiative by members of congress to say i'm taking this on, i'm taking this on, let's get it done. every year we don't do it, every year we don't reform contracting at the pentagon, every year the pentagon can't meet an audit means -- they have no idea. you realize the constitution requires them to give us a report on how they spend the money and they can't. and yet we don't want to put any teeth on the pentagon to force them to do that? it's too hard? we need to immerse our colleagues that are protecting the pentagon from becoming
responsible. >> thank you, mr. chairman spent if i could -- >> upcourt. >> quick response if it could. when dr. coburn and i with the chairs and the ranking member on a subcommittee of homeland security and governmental affairs, federal financial management, took me a while but i finally realized as much of the want to do something about some of these wasteful spending issues, it was just a subcommittee working on it we were going to get anything done. but maybe worked with a full can we did get something done. so we started working with joe lieberman and susan collins. we realized maybe if it works with the house, a lot of things are talking about here we could increase the leverage of a subcommittee. then we say, over at gao they come up with the high risk list. it's a to-do list for us to do to reduce wasteful spending. we started partnering with the folks at gao and that was helpful. we got ourselves a new woman last year, to be omb director
and they put together a good management team, who is now the deputy for management. they have a management initiative agenda for the administration. so why do we partner with them as well? with other people who will follow dr. coburn and i at the witness table, citizens against government waste, who really care about this compassionate about how do we eliminate wasteful spending. they key is to find that 80% of stuff the we agree on, all of us. then we increased the leverage of the subcommittee our committee and get real things done to make the kind of progress, the stuff we put in the legislation that dr. coburn and i offered with input from you, and a bunch of folks, but the prime act. next up we think in wasteful spending. put it in the sgr reform legislation. most of it is there. it's great stuff. it's great stuff.
it doesn't savage ol old peopler four people per it saves them, saves money. >> thank you. mr. duncan, i understand you a quick question. >> i just want to express our appreciation to both senator carper and senator coburn. both a great members of the house and they're doing great work in the senate. it's sad that every week sometimes almost everyday we read terrible examples of ways. i read recent about the military building and $369 headquarters in afghanistan that nobody wants and is nobody there to use it. it's just going to be a brand-new empty building. i remember "usa today" writing about the billion dollar air marshal program whether you're spending $250 million per of rest and have had more air marshals arrested, rest by air marshals, so many examples. before congressman chaffetz qaeda, senator carper and i did another property disposal bill years ago but these are probably
the federal government doesn't even want to underestimate carpets and working on that for years. and we passed it here in the house, and i don't know, we need to keep trying. but governor rendell when he was mayor of philadelphia, he was having problems with some government unions and he said before the ways and means committee, he said the problem with government is, he said there's no incentive for people to save money. so much of it is water. there's no incentive for people to work or. many do not. that's a problem. we need to give more incentives or rewards. we've heard, all of us have heard about how agencies that 60% of their budgets the first 11 months of scramble around to spend the last 40% in the last month. we need to give more incentives for, employers are when they save money. i appreciate the work the both of you have done and are continuing to do. thank you. >> thank you.
ms. maloney. >> thank you for calling this hearing, you and the ranking member, and i welcome our senators, former colleagues in the house, and congratulate you on your work, senator carper, no oversight has been very helpful and appreciated working with you. dr. coburn, i think you report is terrific. i'm just glancing through it. i would like to a look at the history of the. when did you start a? have you ever been successful in getting anything out of government that you've identified in the wasteful report? and why can't we -- i understand you're marking up an appropriations bill this week in the senate. senate rules allow you to connect things to it. why can't you connect the wasteful spending in a bipartisan way to this bill that's moving, take some action? and i would like both the to respond, i was astonished at the reports i've been reading through, i think ms. woo had this report on a plane that even the pentagon doesn't want the f-35 joint strike fighter.
the dod chief acquisitions under secretary called it and acquisition malpractice. it's going to cost 1 trillion to maintain and they've already, but causes no 400 billion they're saying it can't fly at night, can't land on aircraft. is a useful in today's type of military operations that are more like the navy seals, big planes they can't find a place to land and can fly at night and can't land -- how would you get this out of the budget? how to get something that even the pentagon says they don't want out of the budget? i'm addressing the question to both of you, the dr. coburn, could you start first with their history of this study? i think it's actually but have you gotten anything out of the budget that you've identified as extremely wasteful? how do we get this f-35 that even the pentagon is saying is wasteful, can't do what we want, it's not respond to the type of military that we have in america today, which is more of a
single, swift strike like osama bin laden type operation spent addressing the f-35, look at history of that, when you're building planes before you have finished your design, you will have cost overrun. it goes back to what i said earlier. and let you do procurement reform within the pentagon, and have actually some of those in the room when you're buying something, speedy's excusing, let me ask you one question. how would you do that? everyone has cost overrun. you can't outlaw cost overruns. you can document who's doing it spent only the government has those kind of cost overrun is to end the private sector you the contract and get a fixed price contract, and if you have cost overrun it's on the provider. it's not on the water. so, unicode what we've done is create a culture where you do cost-plus on development. that's why the nunn mccurdy laws were put in. i would dispute some of the
parts of the f-35 where applicable to what and who wants. there are some questionable areas of it and there's no question it's way too expensive. i had with you. we started the we spoke about four years ago, again with all-purpose to try to embarrass some of the agencies into thinking that some of the decisions they make. just remember, homeland security, for example, we give billions and billions of dollars worth of grants every year. but they don't follow them. they don't see if they were meant. there's only one agency in the federal government that is effective at grant writing, and it's the department of library and museum sciences. let me tell you what they do. it is well known throughout the country that if you mess with them and you're not compliant with your grant, and you spend the money other than, you are never going to get another grant. in other words, they create the proper expectation that when you deal with them you will do what you said you were going to do,
you're going to meet the requirements of the grant and you're going to ascertain. do you realize most of the great programs, people get grants for the same thing from two or three different agencies and none of them even know it? agencies don't have any idea. so we need grant reform. we need a mandate on how you write a grant, what the requirements are, what the consequences are. the homeland security has no idea where the grant money is going. or how effective it is. and whether or not it is risk-based. worse the risk, is the money going to? it's lost and we throw money at things and we haven't done the oversight. when was the last time a member -- a committee of congress and we're going to do oversight on the department of justice crime prevention? how well are they working, what are the metrics, what have they accomplished? that's how we found out on job training. we actually did -- i went to obama and looked at every
federal job training program in the state. every one of them. we have in a city of 17,000 with an unemployment rate of less than 5%, we have 13 federal job training programs working. now, it's great about employing people in the job training. they don't need a job training program. the other thing we found is the state run job training programs are actually effective at giving somebody a stupid most of the federal job training programs are highly effective at giving someone a skilled to make a lifetime wage. and so when was the last time we had an oversight hearing on the? >> i hope we have some oversight hearings on that, but in your report had inflicted any of the -- >> we've done some things. we got a lot of squawk back. we actually don't think that political science grants, study congress right now are a priority. so i put that any piece of legislation. they are squawking like crazy, the people who like to earn
their money for doing studies of congress on political science. couldn't that wait until we are in a little better financial condition? it's about perspective. and what would you do if it was your money rather than somebody else's money? that's the real problem. we don't treat it like it's our money, and we should be. >> thank you. the gentleman from oklahoma -- >> mr. chairman lex i wonder if i could respond. this is america. this is an erica. this is a c-5 aircraft. one of the large airplanes in the world. we started doing them in the late '60s, i the early 1980s. they carry a huge but of cargo, crew, personnel and all. this is c-17. it's a radar plane. carries about half as much as a c-5. lies about about half as far without refueling as a c-17. about 12, 13 years ago the
department of defense pentagon and president bush said we need c-17s, but what we really need are c-5's that have been modernized and have engines that don't need to change that every -- have our dog systems. they called for modernizing c-5's, and what we started doing about eight years ago was modernizing. as it turned out for the price of buying one new c-17 can we could modernize two or three of these babies. they fly twice as far, carry twice as much. we are now getting -- dover air force we have c-17s. one of those aircraft a year ago said 42 world records for caring
cargo, flying from here to turkey nonstop, no refilling. for three of these modernize, they will last another 30 or 40 years, cost as much as one of these. we have plenty of c-17. we don't need to lease aircraft to russians. we need to modernize what we have the that is what we are doing. we are saving money, better result for less money. a lot of times we beat ourselves up in the administration and we should because of the wasteful spending we do. this is an example of something that makes sense and actually does save money, gives us a better result in terms of airlift capability. the work we are doing on the improper payments, we are down to 106 million. the work of dr. coburn and i are doing will help us further in that regard. >> we're going to go into a lightning ground, they're very quick because i'm getting more questions, not less so i will ask everyone to stay within one minute. mr. langford, you were next to
ask. >> and one. cinders, thank you for being a. senator carper you made the comment about the 80/20 will but i found it to be somewhat of a problem as we try to function between the house and senate. because in my short time being here, most o of the bills that come up for messaging goes by the actual goes to fix the problem. they come with 80% of things we agree on and then we stuck on 20% of things that are pure politics that we know will kill the bill. a good idea gets quote unquote voted on but it goes nowhere. it happens in both directions. both parties do. my question for you is how do we move past that? how do we deal with the actual issues and resolve the 80% think we do agree on that we can identify as waste and say why can we please get in a minute on this innocent, why can't we voted out of the house without a poison pill to it? the comment i want to make as well as dr. coburn mentioned identifying different programs. that is my ago, the taxpayer
right to know. history has passed and passed with bipartisan support i would try to get that to the floor. i would like to see that aspect move to the senate as well. it forces every agency to identify every program they have, what the cost is, how many people are served in the program, how many staff that they have for the program. the statutory authorization for the program, and a strange thing intimate life and that is the metrics, how do you evaluate this program. i've seen a tremendous number of programs that have no evaluation. so i'm hoping with the broad support that this committee can pass and house and we look ahead to help in the senate to give you get that through the city. it is a reasonable next step after the gao report. so your response on just the 80/20 and how we can move some things with it with the politics of the day. >> i had breakfast this one with the jeh johnson, our new secretary of homeland security.
dr. coburn mentioned, the founders, people who wrote our constitution had in mind the system that was hard to get stuff done. they did make it easy. part of the job of senators to slow down but it doesn't stop the. back to what i said, what we have here is to figure out how to use the leverage of the subcommittee, committee or two committees working together with all these good government groups. work with the administration, and especially we have a team that omb, they want to do this stuff. the challenge for a certificate who the people are and figure out to work together. we can do that. we have a couple of great examples. we can set an example, your committee, our committee, we can set an example of something allu all agree on. people don't want us to waste their money. if i had a dollar for every time someone said, i don't mind paying a little more in taxes. i don't want you to waste my money. i don't want to waste my money or there is, and to so much we can do on a common agenda.
let's do it, and we are doing it. >> i'm going to make a commitment a pledge, consistent with mr. langford. dr. coburn, if you make a vote on it with your chairman, i'll make sure our committee brings the same bill and voted out to the full house. you pick something out of the book or something not in the book and if the two of you are prepared to hold a committee vote on it, i'll guarantee you you a ful full body on the same bill. and hopefully if we can suggest wednesday we can come to send agreement and i'll begin today scheduling that every week if we have a bill that we agree on, no matter how small, falls within our jurisdiction, completely or
partially i will guarantee you a vote. hopefully that will give you an opportunity to go through the book and see if we can't find it. let's find something and do something every week if necessary. >> briefly, mr. chairman, i'm very glad to here you say what you just said. because there's an old song this is you got me going in circles. and you never -- you can go in circles and never get off the merry-go-round. >> doesn't ago i'm dizzy? [laughter] spent on not taking it that far. just a circle. but my point is i think it's good that we have the four of us here right now, and what you choose it is so very, very important. it just goes back to what both of you have said, we've got to move forward. i appreciate your comment and the going to work with you. thank you both.
>> thank you very much. just the comment, about a year and half ago, two years ago we did a bill identifying 250 tax expenditures and recommended just 28 of them be eliminated as low-hanging fruit, which is over $60 billion a year. and then suggested gao take a look at the others and recommend which ones be kept, which ones would change, which once eliminate. we have yet to have a bipartisan support on that. the other part is defense. shameful, i think we can all agree the defense department in the building to the financial statements because they can be used as a basis for audits. do you have any idea or comments, recommendations on what teeth to put into legislation that would tell the department of defense that of us to produce financial statements that are out oddity, something will happen? and second, ma if you read the stems and report of last year on the military, recommend between
209, 600 over 10 years, one of the recommendations were that maybe rather than fight over the particulars of what will get cut in the pentagon, we don't do a sequestration type of cut out we say to the pentagon, your budget will be reduced by x amount of dollars, you find out where you save it or report back to us how you've done it. any comments? >> i was a member of the bowles-simpson commission and actually voted for it. most of those ideas came out of the work that we did in terms of pentagon. the audit the pentagon act has teeth in the. the pentagon is the only agency that pays the bills themselves. all the rest of the bills the federal government is paid by the treasure. and the t. that we put in to audit the pentagon act is if you can't get an audit the pentagon statement by 2017, we will have the treasure start paying your bills. which means, and by the way, a
lot of the bills the pentagon paid aren't you and a lot of bills that should be paid by the pentagon aren't paid. it's a mess. when you go to look at anything, there's all this fake accounting to give to justify to make a payment. so the teeth is to move the payment from the pentagon. more important, you cannot manage what you cannot measure. the pentagon can't measure hardly anything. and so the whole drive to get an audit of the pentagon is not to get an audit of pentagon. it's to get into the place where they can get management numbers that they can actually make decisions on. and the reason you have 20% waste in the pentagon, at a minimum, is because they have no idea what they're doing because their numbers aren't any good. so it's a fixable problem, but
remember, we had that in the ndaa, and when they incorporate it they took all the teeth out. so you think we're going to get an audit in 2017? no. because there's no consequences if there's no audit. so were going to continue the same practice. spent thank you. mr. mica. >> i think this is a great way to kick off a new year. congratulate you, thank you and the members of the senate with responsibility for doing this. listen to it, it's kind of interesting theory the efforts of folks, mr. duncan and others, for example, disposal of the vacant buildings. we've all pass legislation. i passed some with mr. denham on the subject, but i come to the conclusion you can only eat an elephant a bite at a time so you really have to focus. we hope folks down to empty
building to i think the first thing i did as chair of transportation was in the vacant post office building two blocks from the white house. that was in february 2 years ago. then we went back a year later because they hadn't done anything. and hauled the bureaucrats down there to get into building. the first time it was 32 degrees outside, 38 degrees inside the that tends to get their attention but it still takes time. that is a success. we have had successes but you have to target. we got a lot of failures. amtrak, we're going to celebrate a billion dollars this year in a dozen years, in food-service losses, for which we passed a law that you cannot spend money and lose money. tsa, tom, we were here when we created. started off with 16,500. we have 15,000 administrators,
and 66,000 employees, totally out of control. haida, another example, set up the target of the high intensity drug trafficking area, some of those are still going on. it's a game that's been played. i think it's constant oversight. i think it is released we did 1600 hearings in the house, you've got to keep going after the bastards until you're successful. i don't anything else you can do spent senator carper spent i spent a lot of years in my life as a naval flight officer active and reserve duty to when we're going to do something, it's like having an aircraft carrier. takes a long time but you keep at it. is like changing an aircraft engine when the aircraft is in flight. that's really hard. last night i was invited to speak to a bunch of students come down here for part of a semester, interns, doing internships, cost the
government. i asked them, did you all know what you want to do with your life when you're six years old? everybody there raised their hands and said, tammy of you know which one to do now? 21, 22, 23 years old. only a few of them raised their hands. i don't care what you want to do, keep in mind forgoes. number one, figure out the right thing to do and just do it. that's for us as well. figure out the right thing to do. we don't want to waste money. something we can agree on, the 80% we can agree on. number two is treated of the people the way we want to be treated. that applies to entitlement programs. i want to save this program, which make sure we don't savage old people or poor people. third is to focus on, if it isn't perfect make a better. the last thing isn't just don't give a. changing the aircraft engine, just don't give a.
we are right on a lot of the stuff, we just can't give a. i'm not going to. i know this guy is not going to. i sense the same spirit here today. >> mr. jordan. >> thank you, mr. chairman. senators, picking up where the chairman's comments and ranking member, have you looked at the annual savings, wasteful spending that you see, that you agree on, and have you done that analysis? you both agree this is wasteful, if you done that analysis, what is that number? if we have done that that seems to me a starting point to have you done that? look at all passionate look at mr. coburn took, whatever you identify, we agree on, these several programs, totals so many dollars, but start there, have you done it? >> we have not done that joy. out analysis of the recommendations just a gao is at a minimum, if you just followed
the recommendations to eliminate duplication you would save 150-$200 billion the year. that's my offices analysis of what the savings are. just eliminating duplication. that has nothing to do with the $80 billion of fraud in medicare and medicaid. it has nothing to do with cost overruns in i.t. and the federal government with a $42 billion a year, 50% everything we've been in i.t. there's all kinds of -- their 77 different means test, social welfare programs. i get all that. but to get something moving to get off the dime come it seems that the gas guzzling in front, you can say we agree with this, there's our starting point, let's get that legislation in front of the chairman who said he went to do that and the ranking member says he is willing to do that, now with someplace to start. mr. mica said elephant one bite at a time. >> one of the smart things i think we do is what the good dialogue with gao, with their
can't co-general and also, not every during the summer hearings every month we have gao present at the hearing. they put out this high risk of his agile every other year, beginning of the congress and point to any number of ways we can save money. on that high risk list for your seven improper payments. when we first reflecting improper payments and single are the, it was about $30 billion, find a peek at a hundred and 25 but i think for your scope. we have authored, co-authored with your support and involvement one after the other after the other, legislation going after improper payments. we are down to a hundred and 8206. we have a whole lot more room to improve. another area, the property stuff we talked about, the postal service to make sure the postal service is in position to repay the money they borrowed from the federal government, there's a lot that gao brings to us.
that's what we work at. >> that's all great, but we've got to move quickly. what i'm asking is can you two guys get together and come up with a bill? give us a bill? >> you look at the prime act, that's our bill. that is our bill. spent mr. coburn is on the build? >> yet. we do a lot of bipartisan bills. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> last but definitely not least, the gentleman from missouri. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you senators for being here today. could you quickly tell us what you think the challenges are of the federal government when it comes to the purchasing and procurement of information technology? isn't that the federal government doesn't have the expertise to actually purchase it? when you look at agencies like dod and hhs, and all of the
others, do we have the expertise in those agencies to know what we are purchasing, to be able to identify the products that we should be securing from vendors? and just how do we approach that, senator? >> the answer is this is difficult. this is not just difficult in government. i have a son-in-law that works one of the large firms that does this, and his report says ge, the companies have the same difficulty. the difference is, is that they have stopped. they have stop losses. we don't have any. we spend $82 billion a year on i.t. and at least 50% of it is wasted every year. the proper is we don't know what we want when we go to buy it. the second problem is as i mentioned, with the air force
contract, there's no consequences for nonperformance on the contractors. there so consequences to the procurers within the government as a penalty of losing their job or losing their position if, in fact, they screw up. so it's about accountability it's a difficult area. might estimate is private sector waste 25% of the money they spend on i.t. that's might estimate. we waste 50% so we can survey get better but it's a difficult area. we need to be able to compete. one of those senator carper and i have is to elevate the salary scales that homeland security can utilize to bring the proper people in them in terms of i.t. in other words, we have to be able to compete with the private sector. to we need to do that and we probably need to do that and a lot of there's in government in terms of i.t. because that's an area where we can't compete. so to get the quality people to make those decisions, we have to raise the level of salaries we are willing to do that. we have a bipartisan bill to do
that. >> and we also have a responsibility as far as oversight over these agencies, and maybe stop the train from leaving the station. >> i'll just be one of the point. too often the government tries to buy something off the shelf and make the off the shelf product fit their system, rather than buy something off the shelf and make their system fit the off the shelf. and that's a big -- especially with the army. it's been a big waste of money in terms of their i.t. because they are trying to change programs, things we know work perfectly everywhere else does work in the army because they are undermine the integrity of what they bought. we have a meeting that we have -- >> i want to thank the senator's -- >> one minute, if i may. >> yes, mr. chairman. >> we're going to the same meeting. on this point, states are
laboratories of democracy. we have 50 of them. how can we learn from our state's? we used to do a poor job of i.t. management. one of the things that's wrong, tom alluded to it, is we were -- we would hire people to work in the i.t. shop, trenton, get them to become skillful and they get hired away for more money. either in other governments or more cell osha or most likely the private sector. the same is true be. we need to be able to attract and retain the people once they are trained and we did have a set of incentives that do that. the second thing old rolling stones song, can't get what you want, if you try sometimes you can get what you need. with a hard time to get not what we want but what we need, what we actually need. to know for sure this is what we need, and to stick with it, not to change, not to keep changing. we need folks in those agencies who can manage these projects,
not be managed by the folks that are providing the i.t. system. and the last thing we have to like to stick with it, just got to stick with it from the start to finish. those are some the things that would help us. >> i like to senator carper's lyrics to make attackers. spent there's probably a song, all good things must end but i'm not going to quote it. senator, chairman,, my friend, you have been extraordinarily generous with your time and questions, and i appreciate that. just to recap, i think we have agreed that there's a lot more we need to do, and i did mean it, and allies you mentioned it as i was offering it, -- allies you mentioned. we will, in fact, move if you too can agree to because that the beginning of chipping away at a billion dollars at a time. lastly i think we've talked around the tower all day.
it sounds like you have some ideas of some items it as a companion bill or to include with it that we need to do. the president is going to come out talking about needing daughter better people to prevent some things like healthcare.gov from happening again. we believe that is part of an organizational change but we are certainly receptive that with that organization change, with budget responsibly go for chief information officers and the like we may have to look at how we recruit and retain those people who have those large budgets and choose responsibility. so i look forward to this being the start of a great get together. i flew in those old sea ice -- c-5. better reputation for landing, more often than taking off easily. i appreciate the work you have done to try to modernize a portion of that fleet. i refueled a lot of those in the air because you felt better if you refueled india because you knew you were still flying. you made a difference and i
>> ladies and gentlemen, good morning and welcome. i'm tamara wits. direct to the saban center of the middle east policy here at brookings institution. i want to thank you all for braving frigid weather for us this morning what i think is very important and timely event. you know, with the end of america's military engagement in iraq i think many in the american public urned their attention elsewhere. at the same time america's
partnership with iraq, its interests in iraq, its engagement with iraq did not end and iraq's challenges in reconstruction, in building democratic governance in the midst of diversity and very fierce politics, those did not end. iraq continues to work on those challenges and it is challenged today as well by the turmoil roiling its neighborhood. at this moment after a year of tragically escalating violence in his country i can think of no more important time to hear from our guest this morning, speaker
usama al-nujayfi. we're very honoredded, mr. speaker, that you have chosen to join us this morning. it's a moment i think for all of us to hear from the speaker about the challenges iraq is facing. how the united states can play a role in helping iraq meet these challenges to stablize his country, to stablize the region and to advance american interests in, i think a long-term u.s.-iraqi partnership. mr. speaker, thank you so much for being with us. let me now turn the podium over to my colleague, kenneth pollack, senior fellow at the saban center to make formal introductions. >> thank you, tamara. and welcome to the saban center for middle east policy at the brookings institution. we're absolutely delighted to
have you all here to hear from speaker usama al-nujayfi. there are few people i would like to hear from and i think washington needs to hear from speaker al-nujayfi. a few quick administrative announcements before the speaker takes the podium. first if i could ask everyone please sky lens their cell phones. i would never ask a washington audience to turn off the cell phones. if you could at least silence them we would be greatly appreciate tiff of that. second there will be simultaneous translation. you should all have translation devices at your seats f not, please raise your hand and we'll be sure for you to get one. be prepared for that. english for arabic, whatever it is you may need. third the way we will do it. i will beautiful introduce the speaker. the speaker will take the podium and give prepared remarks on the
situation. he will join me and ask a number of questions about the general situation. unfortunately our time is somewhat short and need for simultaneous translation we would agree to keep it simply to that. i hope i will be a decent, honest surrogate for all the different issues that all of you would like to hear about and hopefully we'll give the speaker an opportunity to elaborate on his prepared remarks. with those bits of administrative sheriff yaw taken care -- trivia taken care let me make a few remarks about speaker nujayfi. he has been one of the most important and constructive voices in iraq over the past six or seven years. he started out life, trained as an engineer which i think has been a critical element in his ant, pardon the pun to build bridges between the different communities of iraq. he began life in fact as an electrical engineer. a talent that iraq is of course
in desperate need of these days. he went on to found his own very successful business. a talent which i think in many washington see as kind of a arcane science, a mystery to all of us but nonetheless we all recognize as being critical importance everywhere around the world but in particular to iraq. he was minister of industry and minerals at one point in time. he of course is a member iraqi council of representatives, iraq's parliament. since 2009 he has been the speaker of the iraqi council of representatives. with that bit of introduction, let me ask you to give a warm reception to speaker usama al-nujayfi. [applause] >> translator: in the name of god, very happy to be here with you today.
as you know, iraq is central and important country and the world at large cons states on iraq and you do know that we in iraq went through a very particular experience in the middle east. we first get rid of an oppressive regime and it is followed by a military occupation. then a constitution that was written in unsettled conditions and circumstances. there was also a roadmap that was set that the iraqis were not able to contribute to this roadmap because we were in a rush and we wanted iraq to be an exammary democracy. the constitution in iraq was written in very difficult
circumstances. and in a very sensitive period in the country, and on the hand of people who suffered a lot in the past who were arrested or condemned to execution or exile or imprisoned. so the psychological environment was very hard. and there mutual fears between the iraqi components. this was reason why the constitution has some problems. and some articles in the constitutions can be interpreted in different ways. we also set a mechanisms to build institution but the iraqi
constitution was not as it should have been because of the political tension and the division and the institutions stipulated in the constitution did not, or were not built as it should because of the problems. for instance, the federal supreme court which is the highest judicial body and -- on conflict between different areas of the country. so far we're not able to implement it. because this only two third of the votes in the parliament and all the political parties do not agree so far on the tribunal. now we have courts that does exist but it does not have the constitutional prerogative to be able to rule on the issue of interpreting the constitution or deciding if the laws are
constitutional or also ruling on differences between the provinces and kurdish province and baghdad or between the legislative and executive powers. all this made political life more complicated in iraq and our path towards building the democratic system that you see was not smooth. there are bad implementation of the law and selective implementation. parliament adopted some 215 laws, some are very important for the stability of iraq and for providing services to the people and for building the state as it should be built but some of these laws were not implemented. they were adopted, published in the journal, official journal and theoretically have been
implemented but so far are not because there are unilateral political decisions not to implement them. for instance the law on the provinces that gives important prerogatives to the provinces and enough funds and means to implement decentralization of the states. but this law was not implemented because some in the country believed that it shouldn't. also the law about customs, it was adopted two years ago but it was paralyzed on purpose. so we are facing many obstacles when it comes to building institutions and to building the state of iraq. selectivity in implementing the laws, sometimes the law is
implemented on some iraqi parties and not on some other iraqi parties. hence a lack of confidence by the citizens in the political process and the state institutions and also in the participation in the political process. iraqis now facing a terrorist threat as we've seen since the beginning of the year has started and now we need to know how to defeat these terrorism at the security and at the idealogical level. you do know that in 2007 with the surge of the american forces forces -- violence ended in the country and we set a plan to fight al qaeda and the terrorists groups. with the support of the sunni
clans more especially in anbar and they were armed, financed and got promise that is they will be part of the armed forces and of the state and the chance were able to defeat al qaeda and security was restored in al-anbar that represents 30% of the surface of iraq. so we were able to bring stability back and the world witness. but after this victory there was no follow-up on the promises give then to them and they did not get in their rights as promised to integrate the armed forces to get the salary that is they need, to protect them from being targeted by terrorists. very few of them got salaries
that were very, very low. some of them were expelled from their jobs. many of them were arrested. because of systemic regulations by or even by al qaeda because they wanted to undermine the role of the town. from 2009 until a few months ago, these forces were almost completely destroyed and al qaeda came back stronger than before. al qaeda was able the paralyze the clans, and the central state did not follow up on its moral and literal promise so al qaeda is back and it is exploiting political differences and general frustration among the iraqi people but -- also is exploiting the systemic corruption at the political and
economic level. it is finding support, finances and means and in some provinces in iraq and in 2013 more than 9,000 iraqis were killed and more than 25,000 were wounded and this is the highest figure in the last 10 years. so the political components in iraq were not able to build the iraqi political system or to implement the constitution and reach genuine partnership and genuine conciliation. they were not able to implement the laws as it should be and get rid of corruption and abuses. they did not respect all the iraqi components to represent them equitiable way in the armed
forces. according to the constitution they did not provide the provinces with enough funds still according to the constitution on a prorate at that to the population. also did not adopt the law on high dough carbons and oil and -- hydrocarbons which is important to set balanced relation between the provinces and the center for the production and exportation of oil. so each one or some parties are implementing the constitution based on their own perspective and this is hindering the building of the state, the national cohesion and is leading to more division and more people at this point do not trust the political process anymore and this is something that we have seen by the very low turnout in the last general elections and the one before.
we believe that iraq is at this point on a crossroad. the key to the solution is clear and we can find a solution. what we need though is a strong determination, is a political will is for everyone to agree on the constitution and to forget about the problems of the past, to move beyond the fears. and to stop punishing the iraqi people and move towards a reconciliation that can present iraq from even greater problems. in the kurdish province there was a law to -- everyone who
committed the a crime against the kurdish people and worked with the kurdish region. some are accused of many crimes but they decided to amnesty everyone and situation in the kurdish province is stable and everyone is participating in the kurdish province. the kurdish province is example of security and successful investment and wise politics. but in iraq, we are still arresting people and we are also implementing the law on on accountability in a partial sectarian way. we are still punishing some of the iraqi people who are not part of the previous regime but only for reasons that are
political and unfair, so we failed in implementing this law. i believe the political process is now threatened and we need to act seriously and quickly. the next elections are very important and may solve many problems but the situation should be stable and calm. we should put an end to the violence and the killings and we should avoid any political measures that are provocative as happened the day before yesterday, the decision to start a military campaign against four provinces which led to lots of reaction. also what is happening in the anbar province. of course al qaeda is there and we should fight al qaeda, we believe so and the clans are fighting terrorists at this point but not everything in al-anbar is terrorists. there are political demand and
rights. and problems that need political solutions, not military arrangements. so i am ready to answer your questions but let me state one thing that iraq at this point is a on a crossroad. either it will move toward success and enhance democracy and give successful example of a democratic system in a troubled iraq, or god forbid, we will move into something similar to the syrian situation and this is to be expected if the problems are not faced in the right way. iraq at this point needs national reconciliation, wisdom understanding and partnership between the iraqis instead of
the what we're seeing in iraq. thank you so much. [applause] >> thank you very much, mr. speaker. again, welcome to brookings. it is wonderful to have you here and thank you for your remarks, in particular because i think you justified my comment that you are one of the most important and most constructive iraqi politicians out there and i think you laid that out very nicely in your remarks. i wanted to start my question for you, where you began your own prepared remarks. with the constitution and the nature of the iraqi state. you said that the constitution had been rushed and obviously we've all heard from a wide variety of different iraqi politicians and iraqi leaders who have different ideas about the nature of the iraqi state and what it ought to look like, who have different visions of a future iraq. and i wanted to begin,
mr. speaker, by asking you about your vision of a future iraq. you were very eloquent and very passionate about the missteps that have been taken in the implementation of this constitution and the laws and politics that have followed the implementation of the constitution but i wanted to begin by simply asking you what your vision for iraq was, what your vision of rickrack can i democracy looked like and in particular whether you felt your vision of a future for iraq is somehow different from your sense of the prime minister's vision of a future iraq? >> translator: well, of course i have a vision about iraq and iraq's democracy. of course it is, it has its specificities. it is not similar to all democracies. we have tradition, our history
and all should be respected. but we do also agree on many of the international criteria when it comes to democracy. and i do believe that iraq is able to become a very important model in the middle east. now the constitution has many flaws as i said but nonetheless at this point it guaranties liberty and freedom. it guaranties and partnership and the building of a strong state. so again some articles would need to be amended and this is stipulated by article 142 that says some of the articles should be amended but at this point the constitution can bring iraq into a better era. now i do not agree with mr. prime minister in the way he
manages the country and i believe that committing to the constitution and applying the rule of law is not obvious in the policies of the government. as i said, it is a selective policy. sometimes laws are implemented in specific circumstances and in other circumstances they are not. on the issue of justice and accountability, the law says that people who reach some levels in the baath party should not be nominated at certain high levels in the government or the armed forces and so on but when we move to what's happening on the ground many of the military commanders that are in charge of very important units in the army, in charge of many military operations and have high-ranking
posts in the federal police or ministry of interior were previously members of the baath party and were also at that time in high-standing positions. but this was simply put aside and ignored and they remain in their job. while counter parties -- counter parts, other officers, and i have to say it from a confessional perspective are being ignored, are being marginalized. are almost pushed into the arms of the terrorists so there double standards in implementing the laws and dealing with the citizens which is leading into a lack of confidence in the political process and the lack of respect by the people towards the state. this democracy some believe is
selective. it is a democracy for some and it is an oppression for others. so the problem is a problem of commitment. we have diagnosed more than 30 violations of the constitution by the government for the last two years and these violations are pretty obvious. there is also an attempt to undermine the rule of the parliament, to prevent the parliament from voting and passing laws and saying that laws should be the done by the government. they are also undermining the constitutional court, the court was created before the constitution and the court decided that what the government is doing is right. therefore we are not being able
to legislate. we adopt laws and the government rejects them. there are double-standards in the country pretty obvious and the current policies will not lead to a strong de-- democratic iraq. we need to review this. we need to have a separation of power. we need to respect the constitution and the laws to and to build the institutions. the institutions should be built some decisions are taken unilaterally and at the security level as you know. all the decisions are in the hands of the prime minister while all the iraqis should be able to contribute in such an important decision. >> i want to push you a little bit further on this. and in particular i want to ask you a particular word one hear as fair amount in iraq and talking about iraq and that word is federalism. as you know there are many people who believe that some of the answers to the problems that
you yourself have raised is moving toward a more federal structure. first i would like to ask you if that is your sentiment as well, and if that isn't the case, i would be delighted to hear why not. if it is, what would you mean by federalism? what would greater federalism for iraq look like? >> translator: well, the iraqi constitution is encouraging the creation of provinces and you do know that the system implementing iraqi reform is a federal system. now we have the kurdish problems and there is clear text in the constitution about the kurdish problems and interest is also a mechanism about creating new provinces according to the constitution and to laws that were passed in 2008 about the mechanism to create a province.
now in the beginning some of the iraqi components were against federalism. they believed this was some sort of divisional partition of iraq. but after we went through the political process and we started seeing the double standards and a lack of fairness, many of the people start demanding federalism, not only sunni problems but even in the south as in the basra province there is a majority that support federalism and the federalism we're talking about is that of the provinces. the administrative borders of the province determined that this is a province. 2/3 of the council of a province
would submit a demand to the prime minister not to be agreed upon but to be officially submitted to the high commission of the elections that would then organize elections in the the said province and if half of the voters, 50% of the voters agree, meaning 50% of those registered to vote agree, then we will have a province with decentralized prerogatives. and the aim is not to create confessional sectarian provinces but more administrative decision and the provinces would have the necessary financing, the necessary management capabilities, the necessary prerogatives. i do believe in federalism and i do believe it is a solution to many of the problems we are
facing in iraq. now baghdad would be in charge of the main ministries, finance, defense, oil, and other issues relating to sovereignty and the provinces were manage their own local issues and this is completely constitutional issue and it has the potential to solve many problems and many of the iraqis do believe that federalism could calm the political tension. now more than a year ago the saladeen province submit ad request but but it was not followed by a reverend dem as the constitution and the laws stipulate but it was kept in the drawers of the office of the prime minister. they simply didn't follow up and this is huge violation of the constitution and the laws. day before yesterday the
province of niniva in the north present ad request to become a province and more than 2/3 of the members of the council of the province sent the request to baghdad. i believe other provinces would do the same and this is something i would encourage because i brief this will enhance the problems in iraq and help solve the security problems. >> as a proud son of ninoa, and follow up, given the state of tensions if the government does not follow up on this petition for regional status in nineveh what is your sense how the people in the province react? how would that go over with them? >> translator: of course when we can not refer to the constitution and the law anymore and when those in charge do not respect the law, so the citizens
would not consider that they are committed to implementing the laws anymore. and this, they are not committed, they will have other alternatives and this is very dangerous and we are warning against this. this is why there should be a commitment to implementing the constitution because you do not have, we do not want to have negative repercussions on the constitution and on the elections. we do not want the people to start working on restoring their own laws and provinces. we implemented the constitution. we should allow for the provinces to be created and again not on a sectarian basis but on administrative basis. when i'm talking about nineveh we have kurds, turkmans, express
shuns and so on so it's a very diverse province. doesn't mean it is a sunni province but ad administrative subdivision and applies to basra as well which is very diverse. in the last laws on the provinces in one of its articles said, each province would take $5 from peach barrel of oil produced in the state province and also when it comes to refining the oil in the province. but the budget that was submitted to the parliament a few days ago only gave one dollar to each province on one barrel and kept the four remaining dollars. when we asked why we got no legal answer. it is just the will of some members of the government not timely meant the law, simply as that. basra, threaten if you do not
give us our legal right, according to the law, we will stop producing oil. we will go out in the streets and we will start a rebellion. this is what the governor of basra said and amara as well. so why do we push iraqis to taking such decisions? we have to be committed to implementing the law and the constitution. >> this gets us into a very interesting and important discussion. i think one of the great questions that a great many americans have about what is going on in iraq today, is the question of where do average iraqis stand? how do they see their situation? and in particular because of your status as one of the prince pill leaders of the iraq sunni community, and pardon me for using that confessional moniker but i think that is a fairway to put things, i think that would be helpful for our audience and americans in general to get a
sense from you where do the people of nineveh see the situation in what is it they want? what is it they're looking for? how do they look at the current crisis? how do they feel about the government? how are they seeing their own lives and what would they like from it? if you could get i have us some sense where the people of these provinces are coming down and how they're viewing the issues, i think that would be enormously helpful for all of us. >> translator: well, as i said, justice was not implemented as it should and the authority of the state, the huge capabilities of the state were used into implementing a selective system which is encouraging the supporters and partisans of the government and punishing those
who are opposing the government. and there was a also a concessional way of dealing with the citizens. and this is something we've seen at all levels starting with the ordinary citizens and moving to high-ranking politicians and this is leading to a feeling of frustration and therefore to rebellion. the people believe that the state is not respecting the rights of some of the provinces and therefore we should react and clearly say we are against these policies and that you should deal with us fairly. so politicians from these provinces talk a lot about these issues within the parliament in political meetings, political circles with the government and so hand during the negotiations
about forming a government and also when it comes to the agreement of 2010 that led the formation of this government and we set a road map for broad reforms, for rebalance institutions and giving these provinces their rights and partnership in decision making. there was no follow-up. the agreement was that the minister should be a sunni. the minister interior shiite. and potentially a military security from the sunnis, and other for the kurds but regret fully this is not what happened. the provinces requested legitimate rights and there were huge demonstration that is lasted more than a year. they had peaceful slogans, they
requested justice, equality and the right implementation of the laws and releasings of the innocent detainees, detainees and they wanted the government not to use the accountability and justice law in order to punish people of these provinces for no reason at all. in the summit we had in baghdad two years ago thousands of young people were arrested all around baghdad. and when the authorities would ask why are you arresting them, they said it's preventative arrest. i mean we have a summit and we have doubts about some of these people being terrorists. some of them remain on the detention two years after the conference was held. they are still in prison. and there was also one of their
elected members of the council of jalah was arrested and accused of being a terrorist. he was in charge of the security committee. he stayed in there for six years and was released two months ago without any charge being put against him him so the provinces are asking for their rights but are getting no positive feedback the demonstration was militarily dispersed. many were arrested and these demonstrations were accused of harboring terrorists, being against the state, undermining authorities and so on, the problems started with disperse ing demonstrators in al-anbar. of course in such demonstrations where 100,000 people are participating probably we can find some terrorists, some
unacceptable slogans but these do not represent all the people demonstrating and the demonstrators are not responsible for the few terrorists amongst them. but none of the people demonstrating ever attacked security forces. there were clashes here and there. but i don't believe that these demonstrations did anything to harm the central authorities but still they were dispersed by force. of course there is a presence for of al qaeda and the isil in al-anbar. they occupy some parts of al-anbar. there are a few dozens, a few hundred but this does not mean all people in al-anbar are al qaeda. but there is a political rebellion against the state. people believe they can reach an
understanding with a state that does not respect peaceful demonstration and is pushing people to carry weapons. people of al-anbar, clans in al-anbar all iraqis agree we should fight al qaeda i feel and get rid of them. they are a dangerous scourge but also at the same time we shouldn't have a political process that would listen to the people and provide the people what they need and give the fund stipulated by the constitution, initiative of political rights. the armed force that is they need, they be part of the political process of decision-making in iraq. if does not happen, again we are in a crossroads. we can not, i mean the picture is not either white or black. it is gray and, we need to work on solving the political problems constitutionally. >> mr. speaker, i think that
last point is a very important one for americans and it is one of the things that americans have the greatest difficulty understanding right now, the rise, the reemergence of al qaeda in iraq. i can remember two, three, four years ago in iraq, driving around and you had forgotten al qaeda even existed because the security situation improved so much. al qaeda in iraq was dead. it was nothing. it was no longer an issue. and today they're back. they're controlling parts of fallujah, parts of ramadi. they're contesting other areas in anbar and nineveh. a lot of americans have a great deal of difficulty trying to understand how it is they have come back. so i think it would be very helpful if you could explain a little bit more because i think you were starting to touch on it, this fact that most iraqis, most anbaries, most do not have any love for al qaeda but
nevertheless, americans we watch tv and see the black-clad men, we see black flags flying in fallujah and it is very hard for us to understand how al qaeda in iraq is back if it isn't the case that the people of fallujah and ramadi didn't want them back. help us understand what seems like a real puzzle for many americans. >> translator: of course. as i said a while ago, al qaeda was defeated. it was defeated because the people decided to he assist the iraqi government and the government forces at that time but after the battle ended the promises made to those people were not kept and the government dealt with them as if they were opponents and enemies. they were not allowed to join the armed forces and this was
based on weird standards as if they did not want to have military units from these provinces. they were mistreated. and this led to frustration and mistrust. people became convinced that they should not deal with baghdad because there is a confessional perspective because they representative in the government and the parliament are not able to get them their rights back or to move their legitimate demands forward and they thought that the government was trying to marginalize some iraqis and not giving them the role they were elected to play. so at the psychological level there was a lot of trust and
lots of frustration and this allowed al qaeda to come back. because when the people do not trust the army and see al qaeda they are confused. if they fight al qaeda, they believe the institution will go back to what it was before in 2006. if they fight al qaeda they will be a target afterwards. if they do nothing they will be caught between the fire of the army and the fire of al qaeda. because they know that al qaeda would be bringing worst kind of repression back but the psychological situation at this.makes it easier for al qaeda to come back. now we need to convince the people in this province that they are part of the decision-making. that the government and the states are there too. they should deal with the government in order to defeat
the extremists and that afterwards their rights will be kept. this is a the most important equation at this point. al qaeda is limited in force but they are exploiting the situation. i mean as some germs can exploit a sick body. but if this body is healthy again, it is easier to fight germs. many countries in the region are facing al qaeda but al qaeda, for instance, can not find a strong hold in saudi arabia or in kuwait but at this point it can do so in iraq. it can find a safe haven and carry attacks. so we need to win the population back in these provinces.
we need to give those people their rights to support them at the political, economic and security level and then al qaeda will be defeated within days. >> this is an excellent point, mr. speaker but i would like to press you and ask you a hard question i think is important to ask from the other side as i think as you're aware there are other communities within iraq, again, to speak quite bluntly, the shia community within iraq that is very frightened by the ree-- reemergence of al qaeda. subject terrorist attacks from al qaeda and other groups in iraq and is pressing very hard on the government to come down on al qaeda and to root it out. and i would ask you how do you speak to the shia of iraq? many i know that you're very close to, very friendly with but these are important elements of your own constituency you care deeply about as well but how do
you speak to them, these people who are very frightened about reemergence of al qaeda and the attacks they are facing who want nothing more than to see al qaeda crushed and basis saying until al qaeda is crushed how can we have these negotiations? how do you reach out to them, how do you then them to explain what needs to happen to allay their fears as well? >> translator: let me correct the information. al qaeda is not only targeting shiites. it is targeting all iraqis. >> i think that is important. >> translator: and tens of thousands of sunnis, of thinkers, of politicians, normal citizens, tens of thousands of have been killed by al qaeda. but in iraq we also have shiite militias that also kill, that also employ forces on the in
baghdad and some ways they are protected and not being held accountable. the killing it turning confessional at this point and very dangerous. the sunnis and shiites should work on reconciliation, being committed to the constitution to -- militia and al qaeda, adopting the logic of militias and al qaeda is very dangerous for iraq and the shiite leaders do understand what is happening. they're not blaming sunnis. they're blaming al qaeda specifically and they do know that al qaeda is killing as many sunnis as they are killing shiites. they believe as we believe. that citizens should feel that there is justice and equality
and this would allow us to get rid of the terrorists. so it is not true to say that the sunnis are al qaeda. the sunnis are also targets of al qaeda and al qaeda is targeting sunni leaders. it killed many of the sunni leaders. sunni politicians can not move freely in many provinces at this point because they are targeted by al qaeda. at the same time, they are targeted by the government and some militias. who are doing something similar to what al qaeda is doing. shiite politicians are more free to travel around shiite provinces. we need to determine which is the common enemy. it is each and everyone who carries weapons outside the legitimacy of the state in order to fight iraqis and this applies to al qaeda and to the mill accomplish has and al qaeda is
an international enemy to all countries and should be fought and i believe the shiites clearly understand what is happening in iraq and do know where the solution lies and the majority of them agree with us that if justice is genuinely back in iraq al qaeda will be very easily defeated. >> last issue i would like to talk to you about is the united states. you're here in washington. i don't think that it is because of our weather or the desire to see our monuments one last time. i imagine that there's some purpose here that has future with iraq and its security so i would like to ask you a little bit about your sense of the role that you would like to see the united states play in all of this? how can the united states be constructive? what is it that we might do? and of course i'd like to ask you to recognize of course that america's influence is obviously less from where it was in 2006,
2007, and 2008 and many americans are feeling let's say reluctant about greater involvement in the middle east. with those caveats in mind what is it you're saying to our leaders, what is it you would like to say to the american people how the united states can never play a constructive role, perhaps a more active role in helping iraq move forward from this delicate situation? >> translator: well, i believe that the relations between the united states and iraq is about a strategic contract and stability in iraq is stability not only for the country and interests of the united states but for the whole world and if iraq were to collapse or to enter a civil war this will have very negative impact on the interests of the united states and the countries in the region and it will